I’ve now completed 4 months of working on my new business for just 2 hours per week. The lessons I'm learning (yet again!) are:
No excuses / Just create and publish.
Beware of creating drama -- it easily derails us from our purpose.
Do it on a schedule vs. "when I'm inspired" -- since I'd like to reveal the business to you within 1 year instead of 10 ;-)
I'll share the first lesson, before offering some numbers-updates on my new business:
We humans are extraordinarily good at self deception...
We are absolutely brilliant when it comes to making up a large variety of excuses to stop us from doing our work.
For any creative project, the more important it feels to us, the scarier it also tends to be... we don’t want to screw it up!
I experienced excuses in full force this past month:
I traveled to see my mom who had been injured. Glad it I could do it. However, I knew it could also easily be an excuse to skip my content creation that week. Instead, I set a boundary and carved out an hour to do my content (creation) and ads (distribution).
It’s up to us to set that boundary, especially with family, even while we’re traveling or having some other interruption to life.
It was also a month where I got food poisoning, which very unusual for me. I was physically feeling low for a whole week. Still, I kept my creation rhythm.
Also, I decided to change the name of this new side business, so I felt in limbo for a few weeks, waiting on the new logo and graphic.
During those few weeks, I wanted to procrastinate on content and audience building, thinking:
“I can’t really build my audience on this old name and old graphics… why don’t I wait until the new thing?”
It was a brilliant excuse, so convincing! But I continued my rhythm of content creation and running ads anyway.
Don’t wait for anything to create content and grow your audience, because there are always reasons why it’s “smarter” to wait.
I often use Focusmate to get things done. This past month, while working on my side business, 2 of my Focusmate appointments were canceled last minute! I could’ve easily let that be an excuse, a “sign from the universe” that I should go do something else today.
Nope. I created content anyway.
In fact, right now I am feeling tired -- didn’t get the best sleep last night -- but right now is when I have scheduled to write this blog post for you, so I am writing anyway. (See the section below about creating on schedule…)
Before I continue with my lessons learned, wanted to share some numbers with you.
Updates after 4 Months:
Back to my lessons learned this month...
Are You Creating Drama?
I once knew someone whose mind was so powerful that whenever she decided to work on her creative project, some family tragedy happened (for example, a relative dies)!
She admitted that it was a very weird coincidence that this just kept happening again and again... Deciding on creative work led to occurrences of tragedy that “required” her to step away from such work.
I’m not saying tragedies don’t happen -- of course they do, and people need to be supported and loved.
However, as I've mentioned above, we humans are absolute geniuses at creating excuses (even manifesting tragedies?) to avoid our creative work.
While one person may deal with tragedy and get creative work done, another will allow himself to get so caught up in the drama, that no creativity is possible.
I have noticed that when I stop allowing excuses to get in the way of my creative work, something magical happens:
Life becomes remarkably calm... drama free.
“Bad” things might still objectively happen, but it doesn’t register in our consciousness with the same emotional charge as before. We are giving our energy, intention, and focus to our Purpose, instead of letting external circumstances derail us from our purpose.
Things that happen in our lives can be interpreted as “signs from the universe” to stop our creative work… or it can be reframed as the universe testing us on our resolve: “How much do you really care about your creative work?”
We get to choose.
Creating On Schedule vs. "When I'm Inspired"
In case you didn't know this about me: the feeling of not wanting to make videos never goes away. I make videos on schedule, rather than “when I’m inspired” which is very rare. (Gratefully, my videos have been a significant source of new clients for me.)
It makes life much simpler: When I create on schedule, I have a great work-life balance.
If instead I keep waiting until I’m “inspired” to make the video, I will keep thinking, even worrying, about whether I’ll ever get the inspiration, and when I finally feel inspired, I will feel like I have to drop everything else to make that video... thereby disrupting my other plans.
Life becomes chaotic when we “go with our inspiration.”
Life becomes prolifically creative when we instead practice creating on demand, creating on a schedule... in other words, to generate inspiration rather than to wait for it.
The key is to be willing to create something “mediocre” or “uninspired” -- knowing that those are only our self-judgements, and what we need is to just publish and observe the audience's reactions.
Another key is knowing that once I get into the process of making something, creativity inevitably starts to flow.
Again and again, I keep learning this.
Same thing with writing:
The feeling of "I don't know what to write" (at the beginning of a writing project) has never gone away for me.
I just have to make myself start writing. “Don't be fancy,” I tell myself. Just write whatever I am already thinking. "Can I write imperfectly? Why yes, I can."
And once I get going, it is miraculous that something comes out if I just keep writing. No frills. Just write whatever I am thinking.
That’s how this blog post has been written!
I wish you a deep connection to your vision, and the willingness to live a “no excuses” life, so that you can create on demand... create on purpose... step into your potential!
If you'd like to start from the beginning of this series, go to Month 1 of Building a Side Business.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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